There's more in Corona than a slice of lime. The California city is also the home of Fender’s Custom Shop, and PG’s John Bohlinger, with our crack video team of Chris Kies and Perry Bean, descended on the shop recently for a different kind of rundown.
The tour starts with master builder Andy Hicks, who recount his CV, including a stint in the Gretsch Custom Shop, where he built the Malcolm Young 1963 Jet Firebird G6131 limited edition. At Fender, he leads a tour through the company's metal shop, which includes a press installed by Leo Fender. Saddles, pickup bobbins, shielding, bridge plates … check. You can watch a CNC machine cut Strat pickguards, and then stop in on Justina Campos, perhaps Fender’s most famed living pickup maker, with 31 years of experience. Campos’ pickups are destined for Master Built guitars. How do you know if you've got a Campos pickup? She signs and dates each one. At Fender’s wood mill, where both the Fender USA and Custom Shop sawing gets done, you see alder, ash, and maple blanks, plus rosewood for fretboards. Learn about the "Golden Neck,” and see how Custom Shop necks get hand shaped. In Custom Shop final assembly, everything comes together. Guitar bodies have been painted and aged. Assembled neck are bolted in. The wiring and electronic installed. “All the guys in here are experts about their own work as well as everything else,” Hicks explains. That's part of Fender Custom’s quality assurance gameplan. On this day, Team Built instruments were on the menu. Master Built guitars are the province of a single builder, from start to finish. And master builder Austin MacNutt gives us a close-up look at one of his special projects, the Jerry Garcia “Alligator” Stratocaster, in a limited run of 100. And in Hicks’ own shop, he talks about the process of creating a custom guitar, from talking to the buyer about his or her desires, to plugging it in and playing it. He also displays a very special Jaguar, made from a 50,000-year-old piece of partially petrified wood, with a blonde inlay from mastodon tusk. FYI, he currently has 50 to 75 guitars at various stages of the three-month process of custom building. Hicks also talks about creating his annual prestige model. It's a secret. You've gotta wait till next year!
The IDRIS was designed to be a slightly unconventional twist on a classic electric guitar design and features Fralin pickups and a tempered pine body.
Featuring Novo’s signature textured tempered pine body finished in super-thin nitrocellulose lacquer, the IDRIS produces classic single coil tones with a warm, pronounced midrange and sparkling top end. Thanks to its medium 'C' tempered maple neck, 9.5"-14" compound fingerboard radius, and 25.5" scale length, it offers a refined, yet familiar playing experience.
"I am excited to finally unveil the IDRIS to the public," says Novo Guitars founder Dennis Fano.“I believe it has something to offer every guitarist and I can't wait for players to get their hands on them and experience the IDRIS for themselves.”
- Fralin Vintage Hot Strat pickups
- MannMade vibrato
- Tempered pine body
- Tempered maple neck
- Rosewood fretboard
- MOTO dot inlays
- Medium ‘C’ neck carve (.830″)
- 9.5″-14” fingerboard radius
- 25.5″ scale length
- 22 Jescar medium frets (.047″x.095″)
- 1.65″ nut width
- Unbleached bone nut
- Nickel hardware
- Kluson Supreme tuners
- Emerson Custom paper in oil capacitor
- 5-way switch
- Thin nitrocellulose lacquer finish
- Matching peghead (for most finishes)
- Stringjoy 10-48 strings
- Mono M80 hybrid case
Idris Players Compilation
The IDRIS is now available for order on Novo's website. Don't miss the chance to be among the first to own this new addition to the Novo family – order your IDRIS today and get ready to blast off“into the Stratosphere”!
Novo Guitars are designed and built in Nashville, TN. The IDRIS is available as part of Novo’s Select program, as well as by custom order. Base price starts at $3,399.
For more information, please visit novoguitars.com.
The Nashville session and touring guitarist, whose credits include Stone Temple Pilots, Carrie Underwood, and David Crosby, takes PG through his versatile, heavyweight home rig.
Inspired to by play guitar by his 6-stringing father, Shawn Tubbs emerged from the Christian-music scene. By his late teens, he was doing club and session gigs, and became part of The Violet Burning. In 1992, he played with Stone Temple Pilots on an episode of MTV Unplugged, then got deeper in the high-profile Nashville session scene, and began touring with Carrie Underwood. He’s since stopped road-tripping in favor of the studio, where he’s a first-call player and his credits include recent work with David Crosby. The 30-year-veteran guitarist’s current album, Demolition, A Collection of Short Jams, can be heard on SoundCloud, and he’s got a popular YouTube channel, but you can hear him demo is own gear in this Rig Rundown, filmed at his home studio.
Brought to you by D’Addario XPND Pedalboard.
Shawn has an extensive collection of guitars, but we narrowed our focus to the 6-strings he reaches for most often. The first entry is a 2010 PRS DGT, one of the company’s vintage-inclined models that’s all stock. All of his guitars are strung with D’Addario NYXL sets, gauged .010–.046.
Here’s an S-style designed by elite California builder James Tyler—an SE HSS from 2021. The axe sports JT 2250 Single-Coils and a JT Super Bridge.
Here’s the ultra-distinctive headstock on the James Tyler SE HSS.
This Gibson Les Paul R9 has been heavily modded but still retains its classic looks. It’s had a complete refinish include a neck reshaping, non-potted Custom Shop pickups, and a ’58 tailpiece.
This 2022 Duesenberg Starplayer TV is all-stock, which means it’s a semihollow with a GrandVintage Humbucker and a Domino P-90, a 25 1/2" scale length, and the Dusenberg Diamond Deluxe Tremolo.
S for Shure
Made in 2011, this Suhr Classic Pro Antique HSS has a 2-piece alder body, Suhr ML Single-Coils, a Suhr SSV bridge pickup, a maple C-profile neck, and a Gotoh bridge—all calculated for vintage feel.
Although Tubbs has a lot of amps and cabinets in his studio, for this Rig Rundown he played through two amps run in stereo. On the left side there’s a Revv D20 (switchable between 20 and 4 watts) with a 6V6 Power Section. Tubbs ran an XLR out via the amp’s embedded Two Notes reactive load box with virtual cab options.
In the Red
On the right side, there’s a RedPlate Blues Machine 40-watt head with 6L6 Power tubes atop a matched cab. It’s routed to a UA OX Amp Top Box.
Tubbs' Tone Zone
His other amps include a Revv Generator 120, a Friedman Dirty Shirley 40, a Suhr Bella sans reverb, a Friedman BE 100 Deluxe, a Revv G20, a Divided By 13 LDW 17/39 and FTR 37, and a Suhr Badger 30.
Shawn Tubbs' Pedalboard
Shawn’s board was built and designed by XAct Tone Solutions in Nashville, whose Barry O’Neal is one of PG’s “State of the Stomp” columnists. Its residents are: a The GigRig G3 switching system, a BigSky and TimeLine by Strymon, an Eventide H9, a KingTone Octaland Fuzz, a Pro Co Rat V2, an XTS-modified Boss GE-7 equalizer, a Greer Lightspeed Organic Overdrive, a Suhr Koji Comp, a Revv Shawn Tubbs Tilt Overdrive, a Lehle Volume Pedal, two Dunlop X(8)s, Strymon Zuma and Ojai Power Supplies, and an XAct Tone custom interface. For a detailed rundown of Shawn’s signal flow and the dozen loop scenes he employs, take careful notes as you watch the rundown!